More than just fun and games: The role of games in postsecondary education to support self-regulated learning

John L. Nietfeld, Rayne A. Sperling, Taylor M. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this chapter, we explore how faculty employ the use of gamification and game-based learning environments (GBLE) in postsecondary education. Gamification refers to the use of game-design elements while game-based learning refers to the use of digital education games. Both are increasingly popular instructional practices and, in this chapter, we specifically examine their potential for supporting students’ self-regulated learning (SRL). Important for academic success, SRL refers to the active, cyclical process of intentionally directing one's metacognition, motivation, and behavior to achieve a learning goal. Findings from the extant research on gamification and GBLEs conducted in postsecondary settings are reported with connections to SRL processes throughout. Furthermore, we review the effects of games on varied learning, motivation, and SRL outcomes. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for future research and practice, with a primary suggestion of more explicitly addressing SRL in research related to gamification and game-based learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalNew Directions for Teaching and Learning
Issue number174
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

Cite this